Read about the origin, history and celebration of April Fools’ Day (Hunt-the-Gowk Day) in Scotland.
Fundoo Times: Festivals: April Fools’ Day: April Fools’ Day in Scotland

April Fools’ Day in Scotland

Origin and History of April Fools’ Day in Scotland

The history of April Fools’ Day or All Fools ’ Day is uncertain, yet most of the western world knows that it is a day set aside for pranks, jokes and hoaxes. During ancient times New Year was celebrated between March 25th and April 1st. This season was not only marked the beginning of a New Year but also the revival of life on earth. Due to the acceptance of the new Georgian calendar the celebration dates changed. Even king Charles IX asked the people to follow the new calendar. Thus, January 1st was selected as the beginning of the New Year. Some people who were obsessed with the old calendar refused to accept the changes, while others got confused with date and observed New Years Day on April 1st. Because of their misunderstanding, these people were called fools or April fish. In Scotland, people developed their own April Fools’ Day traditions and they called the victim as “April Gowk”.

Local name: Hunt-the-Gowk Day

Ways to celeberate Hunt-the-Gowk Day in Scotland

In Scotland April Fools’ Day is traditionally called as “Hunt-the-Gowk Day ". Gowk means cuckoo or a foolish person. The unique thing about the Scotland’s fools’ day is that unlike many other countries Scotland celebrates it for two days i.e. on April 1st and April 2nd. On the first day people play pranks and tell lies to catch each other in an embarrassing situation. According to tradition people need to stop playing pranks and hoaxes by mid day. In olden times Hunt-the-Gowk Day was celebrated by sending a person to find the fool for the day. Although this tradition is followed in some areas, it is slowly dying out. On the second day or Tailie Day paper tails are attached to people’s back. Both the days are considered as a time for fun and merriment.